River Landscape
  • Jacob Philipp Hackert
  • Prenzlau 1737 - 1807 San Pietro a Careggi, near Florence
  • River Landscape, 1768
  • Gouache on paper, borders painted black,
  • signed and dated lower right: Jacq. Ph. Hackert, f 1768. a Paris
    inscribed by the artist lower right: Rouen d’apres nature
  • 153 × 209 mm (without border)
Sale Bukowski’s, Stockholm 1989, lot 300, ill. 19
C. Nordhoff / H. Reimer: Jacob Philipp Hackert 1737-1807,
Verzeichnis seiner Werke,
(catalogue raisonné),
Berlin 1994, no. 54 (vol. II, p. 19), ill. 19 (vol. I, p. 114)

Although the view seen here little resembles the surroundings of Rouen, it is most likely Hackert’s personal recollection of the journey to Normandy he took two years before the making of this gouache. New impressions of the unfamiliar landscape had filled many of his sketchbooks, providing him with subject matter for years to come.

The young artists must have encountered new inspiration on a daily basis, for he had only come to Paris from Prussia in 1765. To suit the taste of his Parisian audience, Hackert at once perfected the technique of landscape painting in gouache. Together with his brother Johann Gottfried (1744-1773), whom he had summoned to assist him, Hackert had such immediate success with these works that many of them were engraved by his artistic colleagues. A number of the views from his French years show clear parallels of subject matter and composition, and they correspond to a contemporary taste for small-format works. Hackert preferred to modulate a river landscape, with the water’s surface stretching from the lower edge of the picture vertically into the background. Either a farmhouse or an elegant estate, usually situated between trees and shore, accentuates the foreground. Staffage figures occupied with farm tasks and a few boats on the water enliven the natural scene.

By the end of 1768, both brothers would move on to Rome and then Naples, where Jacob Philipp Hackert was to make his second home.